- Text Eden Spivak
- Images Alia Bright
- Date September 19, 2018
- Est Read time 5 min
Hand lettering is an intricate craft that’s been around for a very, very long time. And while well-rooted in ancient traditions, such as calligraphy and old store front signage paintings, it still manages to reinterpret the alphabet with each new piece. And indeed, we’ve been witnessing a full-on hand lettering renaissance in recent years. At its best, hand lettering is typography taken to the extreme, with each letter and word examined and styled anew, enfusing type with much personality and with – well, character. We’ve collected a few of our favorite hand lettering artists, their Wix websites and their creations for your inspiration.
British artist and designer Seb Lester has once said of himself, “I’ve got the following list of a pop star, but I’m a nerd with a lot of pens.” With a current count of 1.1M followers on Instagram (and over 600 different pens), sharing short videos of his work process was what first brought him to popular attention. And when we say attention, we mean interviews on big names, like The New Yorker and the BBC, and clients such as Apple, Nike and NASA. It might be Seb’s unique mix of the historical and the contemporary that makes his work stand out so much. His pieces fuse a deep understanding of calligraphic traditions together with a personal take on emojis and famous brand logos. Combine that with Seb’s true craftsman skills, and you get creations that are not only beautiful – but that are also very satisfying to watch in the making.
It was almost by chance that Lauren Hom first got into hand lettering. When working as a graphic designer at an ad agency, she started a personal project in the form of a blog called “Daily Dishonesty”. It was her place to practice lettering, while sharing some of the little lies that we all tell ourselves on a daily basis (“I’ll be there in 5 minutes”, “No room for dessert”, “I have read and agreed to the terms and conditions”, and more). It was not long before the blog went viral and was later turned into a book by Abrams Books. Since then, Lauren has become a full-time lettering artist with a client list that includes Google, Adobe, Starbucks and Time Magazine. She, too, has a unique outlook on those typical motivational sentences, adding her own wit and twist to each piece of work (such as in her ode to Beyonce). On top of her commercial work, Lauren continues to create personal passion projects on a variety of topics that are close to her heart. Her current “Flour Crowns” project beautifully combines her love for carbs and fashion on its Wix website. And if you’re into that too, check out Lauren Hom’s signature template to create your own website, combining unique lettering with a fun, playful vibe.
Brooklyn-based art director and lettering artist Nim Ben-Reuven creates elegant and ornate typographies, with beautiful backdrops and a sparkly vibe. And yet the messages he spells out are cynical and far from your ordinary motivational quotes. His gold caps can read a disheartening “try less hard” and an existential “now what”, or just a simple but powerful “sigh”. Nim carries this tone across his animations, too. He creates short stop-motion videos out of cardboard, depicting day-to-day fails (in a series that’s ironically titled My Life). Nim’s lettering pieces may be flawless works of craftsmanship, but his self-awareness and sharp humor are what make his work so much fun. These lettering creations are a great reminder not to take anything too seriously, no matter the amount of gold swirls and glitter it may have.
Explore Nim Ben-Reuven’s lettering, animations and more on his website.
Some lettering artists work with nib and ink, while others prefer a drawing tablet. And there are those who take another path altogether. Alia Bright makes her typographical creations solely out of paper and glue, using tools like blazers, tweezers and her bare hands. Her delicate process of quilling requires infinite patience and concentration, going through manual measuring, cutting, shaping and gluing of countless strips of paper for each and every line and curve of her letters. While the process can get excruciating at times, her hand lettering pieces bring together light and shadow, perspective and volume into an overall wow-effect of typographical 3D art.
Check out more of Alia Bright’s creations on her website.
Lettering artist and designer Simon Walker’s first encounter with lettering was back in the 1980’s. At the time, he admired graffiti art for walking the fine line between conveying written messages, while transforming the letters into (almost) illegible shapes. Ever since, Simon has never stopped drawing his own lettering pieces. Producing the majority of his work digitally, Simon creates everything from ligatures and custom lettering, to logos and fonts in a rugged and vintage feel. Among his projects are many book covers (such as this Rising Strong cover by Penguin Random House), beer labels and more.
See more of Simon Walker’s works on his website.